The first scrimmage of camp was a resounding success. It was action packed and fast paced with a little snarl, plenty of competition, high flying skaters, wicked shots, great saves, and some surprising (and unsurprising) standouts.
There were two 30 minute periods with 10 minutes of running clock, scheduled power plays for both teams (as well as an unscheduled one), and a complimentary 10 man shootout to cap off the night.
It was a close came, but Team Lindsay pulled out the regulation win by a score of 6-5.
Team Lindsay: Adam Marsh (unassisted)
Team Howe: Sheldon Dries PPG (Kevin Lidstrom)
Team Lindsay: Alex Globke PPG (Unasissted)
Team Lindsay: Jerome Verrier (Pat Holoway)
Team Howe: Anthony Mantha PPG (Tyler Bertuzzi, Dominic Turgeon)
Team Lindsay: Adam Marsh (Joe Hicketts, Pat Holoway)
Team Lindsay: Christoffer Ehn (Chase Pearson)
Team Howe: Tyler Bertuzzi (Anthony Mantha)
Team Howe: Connor McGlynn (James de Haas)
Team Howe: Dominic Turgeon (Evan Polie, Marc McNulty)
Team Lindsay: Jerome Verrier (Chase Pearson, Chase Perry)
The Wings 7th round pick Adam Marsh and return camp invite Jerome Verrier were the only players to register more than one goal, scoring 2 each and 6 of the 11 goals were scored by Red Wings draft picks
Here's the full shootout, followed by the shooters and results.
Team Howe: Alex Kile (no goal on Jake Paterson)
Team Lindsay: Axel Holmstrom (goal on Tomas Kral)
Team Howe: Tyler Bertuzzi (goal on Paterson)
Team Lindsay: Dylan Larkin (no goal on Kral)
Team Howe: Anthony Mantha (no goal on Joren Van Pottelberghe)
Team Lindsay:Evgeny Svechnikov (goal on Kral)
Team Howe: Dominic Turgeon (no goal on Van Pottelberghe)
Team Lindsay: Joe Hicketts (no goal on Kral)
Team Howe: Julius Vahatalo (goal on Paterson)
Team Lindsay: Pat Holoway (no goal on Kral)
Team Howe: Zach Nastasiuk (goal on Paterson)
Team Lindsay: Tyson Spink (no goal on Chase Perry)
Team Howe: Hampus Melen (no goal on Van Pottelberghe)
Team Lindsay: Alex Globke (goal on Perry)
Team Howe: Bryce Gervais (no goal on Van Pottelberghe)
Team Lindsay: Jerome Verrier (goal on Perry)
Team Howe: Sheldon Dries (no goal on Paterson)
Team Lindsay: Travis Walsh (no goal on Perry)
Team Howe: Anthony Greco (no goal on Van Pottelberghe)
Team Lindsay: Adam Lidstrom (no goal on Perry)
Some of the players who stood out for all the right reasons were the usual suspects, while a few of the camp invites also made a very good impression.
- Dylan Larkin has incredible vision on the ice that allows him to anticipate what's going to happen, where people are going to be, and where the puck is going to end up. Even during drills his abilities are evident, and in the scrimmage he was flying up and down the ice, controlling play, and somehow (I assume by using the force) making other players play his game. He didn't have a "great" game and I think he was a bit frustrated with himself, not because he deserved it, but because he places high expectations and standards on himself. His lack of scoring wasn't for lack of trying however, and in a single scrimmage I'm not the least bit worried about it. It sure is fun to watch him play.
- Tyler Bertuzzi does well in the skill drills, but where he really excels is in game situations. He's a spark plug who drives the pace of the game, protects the puck like a pro, and plays with an edge that gets under people's skin and makes them lose focus on the puck, even in a scrimmage setting. Watching Lil Bert play is a whole lot of fun, and he plays with an energy that allows him to set the pace when he's on the ice. His energy is infections and his line mates benefit from it.
- Anthony Mantha had a very unnoticeable 1st period, I only noticed him a couple times and then he'd disappear again. Tyler Bertuzzi was on Mantha's opposite wing, and with Andreas Athanasiou out with a finger injury sustained in the playoffs, Dominic Turgeon got to center Bertuzzi and Mantha. Big Manthony had a meh 1st period, but he came out in the 2nd with fire and ready to show the Wings why they drafted him so high. If Mantha could play consistently how he did in the 2nd half of the scrimmage, using his size and strength, big shot, and moving his feet with a passion, he'll become the player we hope he can be. To be at his best, Mantha needs at least one line mate who drives the pace of play and gives him someone to try to keep up with. It reminds me a lot of how Darren Helm helped Johan Franzen stay engaged in games because he had to work to keep up, it game him a challenge and kept him focused. Usually Athanasiou is Mantha's Helm, but tonight Tyler Bertuzzi did an excellent job of complimenting Mantha and helping him be his best.
- As I just mentioned, Dominic Turgeon centered Team Howe's top line with Bertuzzi and Mantha, and they looked like the top line. Last year Turgeon was there, but he didn't really stand out among the other Red Wings prospects. He was much more noticeable this time around, and was good at making time and space for his wingers. His play making skills have improved, and overall he looked more mature, experienced, and patient when he needed to be.
- Julius Vahatalo was fantastic, showing smarts, using his size well, and looked like he was determined to turn heads and impress. I didn't really get a good read on him last year but he was very noticeable in scrimmage number one.
- Anthony Greco had my attention just about every time he was on the ice. He's only 5'10" 172# but he flies up and down the ice, and checks very well for a guy who's out-sized by most of the opposing players.
- Zach Nastasiuk was used in a checking role tonight, and check is what he did. If not for his age, he would have been in Grand Rapids full time last year, and he's already mature beyond his years. His leadership qualities are off the chart, he's good on face offs, is tenacious, determined, relentless, and a pain in the butt to play against. He never loses his composure or gets taken off his game. Even in Owen Sound when I watched him, he was always the professional, led by example, and despite the other team's best attempts to intimidate him or get under his skin, he gave no indication that he even noticed them. That's what Nastasiuk is, ever reliable, consistent, dependable, and leads by example in everything he does.
- I noticed Won-Jun Kim a lot, both for how well he handled, and handed out, physical play despite only being 5'11" 179#, and for his play making abilities. I was impressed.
- Evgeny Svechnikov has looked like a newly drafted 18 year old attending his first camp. He's struggled a lot with the technical drills, maybe it's nerves but he's often looked like he was nervous that led to mistakes and giving the puck away. His skills are there, and every now and again they pop up and wow spectators. He's young and needs some time to learn that scoring goals in the Q is a piece of cake compared to most other leagues of comparable age, but he definitely has impressive skills in his toolbox.
- Joe Hicketts did an excellent job of being Team Lindsay's top defenseman. He's stronger, smarter, and more mature than last year when he earned a Wings contract. He rushed the puck up the ice, made beautiful outlet passes, played a lot of ice time against bigger players, and plays with an infectious energy and enthusiasm. Every time I talk to him, even the tone of his voice exudes happiness, optimism, and humble determination. It would be really hard not to like what Hicketts bring to the table, and to root for him to succeed.
- Newly drafted defenseman Vili Saarijarvi only took a couple shifts in the 2nd half of the game, and we found out afterwards that it was due to leg cramps. So far I've been very impressed with his speed, mobility, vision, and puck skills. Hopefully he'll be able to play Tuesday's scrimmage so I can get a longer look at him.
Sunday and Monday and Tuesday feature more on ice drills, and there will be a final scrimmage on Tuesday afternoon. I'll have scrimmage highlights from tonight posted just as soon as I get them edited.